We share here an email that came our way from our friend Jim Gerritsen about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). We reviewed the U.S./Canadian CSA Charter and related info and signed on our Maine FarmShare efforts to add our work and our voices to this initiative. We appreciate that it is aimed directly at keeping what we most value about CSAs, the “community” part of CSAs where farmers and their neighbors and customers join together.
As many of you know, we offered a “carrot challenge” to encourage folks to compare real Maine carrots with their California counterparts. We can’t help but love this picture:
“Just took the carrot challenge in Kennebunkport. Maine carrots 4 California carrots 0. Guess which side of the plate the Maine carrots were on!”
And the Bangor Daily is right there with us. Look at this great recipe for carrot fritters.... http://tastebuds.bangordailynews.com/2017/02/13/whats-for-supper/something-different-with-carrots/.
We’ve also been reading up on carrots. It seems they started in Afghanistan before 900 AD and spread from there. White and purple were the first carrots, with orange joining the line up in Northern Europe in the 1500s and orange and white making an appearance in the US in the 1600s.
Carrots have a lot of health benefits. The USDA reports that medium-size is just 25 calories with 6 grams of carbs and 2 of fiber. ONE carrots = more than 200% of daily vitamin A. Carrots also contribute balanced diet, can help you meet your dietary needs for calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese to our diets
Carrots are VERY versatile – good raw and cooked in various ways. Our own favorite on the farm are roasted rainbow carrots…and of course as part of a coleslaw with local cabbage. And then there is carrot cake.
We also discovered the World Carrot Museum, http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/experiment.html, where we learned about making carrots into musical instruments and about great carrot projects, carrot magic, and carrot experiments for kids. Who knew?
When we started writing for the web last spring, we intended to update folks weekly, but then —there was our move of some of our fields to Houlton, the arctic spring, the drought, well, you get the idea. . . There was also the time invested in the smashing success of our Workplace FarmShares.
Our gratitude is enormous for all of our customers large and small who stuck with us over the course of a difficult farming season.
Now, the harvest is in, and, now, we are thinking about CARROTS. We have a bumper crop of great Maine carrots and parsnips and potatoes, as well as absolutely perfect cranberries from Sugar Hill in Washington County.
So as we are sitting in Newport thinking about carrot cake, carrot muffins, pot roast, New England boiled dinners, we are faced with the reality of California carrots, lots of them. And being the old Mainers that we are, we are we are puzzling over why the California competition is so tough.
We’ve been researching. Five years ago, Mother Jones reported on what they called “the California Vegetable Behemoth”—suggesting that even with its rich soils and great growing season(s), California might be a bit too dominant, calling its fruit and vegetable production “dizzying.” This includes 1/5 of the cabbage and 2/3 of the carrots . . . Americans purchase–just for two examples of vegetables stowed in Maine storage right now.
Mother Jones queried what the other 49 states were doing, suggesting they might have to step up given the drought and high cost of subsidized water (not to mention that 3100 mile Carbon Footprint to the Northeast markets). And some Maine farmers did step up. And have storages full of carrots and cabbage and potatoes and parsnips and beets and cranberries.
. . .And now we want to get them out to our fellow Mainers.
For all the buzz about local, for most, Local After Labor Day is only a bit more than a slogan, and local after Thanksgiving carries even less punch. For example, from our very farm-centered perspective, we can’t understand why any store is carrying Idaho or Washington etc. potatoes …
We can use your HELP. We know yo support local! Please go to your markets and try some Maine carrots (and potatoes, and parsnips, and beets, and cranberries, and cabbage). Tell the produce managers you like how orange those carrots look, how they look like they really grew in real Maine soil, how they taste sweeter. Ask them to call their local farmers and stock up…
WHY BUY MAINE CARROTS NOW? WINTER CANDY!
• Simply put, they taste better
See the video!
• They are sweeter, that’s because they’re rounder (and the sweetness concentrates in the center and because they grow in colder climates building their “sugar defenses.” Carrots harvested in Maine in October and November really are sugar stix.
• They are often more orange, so they have more beta-carotene, as the Huffington Post reports, carrots are healthy eating and the more orange, the more so.
What other advantages do local carrots have?
• Tiny carbon footprint. Most carrots you are buying in Maine stores today have a one hour 60 mile or less travel footprint. Most carrots from the big California producers travel 46 hours across the country.
Lakeside’s truck pulling into Bar Harbor marked a full circle on our first store and FarmShare deliveries, and what a week it was! The Arctic spring, as we called it, followed by the Sahara weeks, limited our normal early production, but we a few great vegetables in stores and working with our partners made for some great boxes. The reviews were smashing–“We ate the radishes tonight with dinner and the maple syrup tastes awesome!! Biscuits are being fought over. Its great!!! Tell me about the things that look like little green pumpkins. This is so fun!!!” , wrote one subscriber. (The little green pumpkins were really Lucky Eight round zucchini … cooked just like regular zukes or great stuffed and baked for a perfect size side serving. Just wait for the Patty Pan Squash that look like baby spaceships…)
Included in this week was our first delivery of FarmShares to a Food Pantry, Safe Place in Corinth. Because we are part of a Food Incentive Nutrition Program (FINI) grant, we are able to offer FarmShare boxes to SNAP/Food Stamp recipients at less than half the cost, and it was great to see our boxes leaving with families there. The week also brought Kathleen Pierce’s great story in the Bangor Daily. We don’t have many visitors at the farm, but this week our friends at Good Shepherd stopped by as did a new pea-lover, at least she loved them when Stew personally picked them and handed them over. (See the picture!)
Looking out this morning on the increasing varieties of vegetables being harvested in Newport.. . peas, radishes, red and green kale, chards, mustard greens, purple top turnip, and the first of the zukes and summer squashes. And others still a bit small but almost ready for harvest and delivery. Look for Lakeside Family Farm products at Hannafords and other Maine locations committed to local.
Our gratitude to our customers and partner farms remains enormous.
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves: “The seasonal contents of Lakeside Family Farm’s first workplace farm share was met with cheers.” For Kathleen Pierce’s whole story, click here, Bangor Daily. We are grateful to the very many of our colleagues who contributed to the story and to the FarmShare launch. Pictures from Maine Med as described in the BDN and from Brewer Mardens (the Eastern Maine Health System drop) the next day. Lakeside Family FarmShare will be at Cascade Park on Tuesday for EMMC, then in Corinth and Biddeford/Sanford on Wednesday. Not too late to join!
Farm to table indeed! Lakeside Family Farm’s first FarmShare delivery for the season left the farm and went straight into the hands of employees and community members at Maine Med campuses in Portland yesterday. By all accounts a smash success.
We heard “Will be just like Christmas every week” several times. The inaugural week continues today (Friday) at the Maine Mall 1-3 and at the Marden’s pickup in Brewer for EMHS. Enormous thanks to all our partners who helped make this such a success. We are humbled by everyone’s help and support. And we are delighted with the obvious joy folks are showing with their first box.
Great local vegetables coming from Lakeside Family Farm to workplaces and schoolplaces near you starting June 30 at Maine Med in Portland. NOT TOO LATE to sign up for your own box of fresh Maine items for your own farm to table adventure. Sites in Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Sanford, Biddeford, Bangor, Brewer, Bar Harbor, Augusta, Corinth. Click here for more information on the FarmShare. You can signup online or print a sheet and send it in, or just be be in touch with us and we’ll answer any questions and walk you through the process. Peas, strawberries, maple syrup, mushrooms, and more are on their way and every week there will be more ….